When can I start?18 Sep 2006
One of the things that was really hard at Bottled Software was managing the ebb and flow of projects, especially handling the sporadic cash flow that came along with that. A lot of it had to do with how long it took to get projects started.
It was the norm to talk to a potential client about a project, then maybe a few weeks later when we could get some more details from the client we'd put together a proposal. If we landed the job, it was often that the proposal would sit for a few weeks to a few months before we got approved. Even if the implementation turnaround needed to be very rapid, the proposal/approval phase was pretty slow.
This was even my normal experience working in IT at the Star when it came to larger projects. It was normal to have someone get really excited about a new initiative, but then getting buy-in and approval from everyone involved usually took a long time. I can think of several projects that each quarter were listed as a top priority every time, but never got off the ground. I can remember one in particular that was discussed extensively the first week I started there; when I visited the Star a couple weeks ago (four years later) it was still being discussed as something that would be started soon.
I've definitely seen this so far with Recursive Function. I have a number of projects waiting in the wings, but have no idea when I'll get the call to move forward. However, it's been interesting that the two projects that have taken up the largest percentage of my time in the last few months have strayed far from the usual pattern:
I got a call from a contact at a company that was leading the initiative and had a meeting shortly afterwards. I basically had the long 4th of July weekend to put together a requirements document and proposal. We met with the client a day after the proposal was delivered, and by that Friday contracts were signed and I was on my way.
The second project was even quicker in getting started. I got an email at around 10 in the morning from a contact at a local software development firm who had a potential client coming in to meet at 3:30 that afternoon. The software firm specialized in Microsoft technology, but the client had a project that needed PHP/MySQL development. I joined the meeting at 3:30 where we made introductions, and less than an hour later the job was mine. I started getting setup the next day and was writing code less than 48 hours after I had first met the client.
It's pretty nice when things come together like that. A few weeks prior I had honestly started to worry where the next job would come from.